The owners of the CN Tower are dismissing outright a scheme by a new online used car company to pay $78-million to change the tower's name to "VG Tower."
"We have no intention right now of selling the tower - the bricks and mortar or the naming rights," said Gordon McIvor, vice-president of public and government affairs at Canada Lands Company, the Crown corporation which owns the landmark.
In a news release marking the formal launch of their website Tuesday morning, Vehicle Gateway Corporation announced it plans to submit a $78-million bid to rename the tower and illuminate it in the company's shade of green.
Peter Davies, a spokesman for Vehicle Gateway, denied the bid is a publicity stunt. "This is a legitimate bid," he said in an interview.
Mr. McIvor said Canada Lands first heard about the bid through the media. When someone from the CN Tower's staff called to ask what they were up to, Vehicle Gateway refused to talk before submitting their bid next Tuesday, McIvor said.
"Letting the media know that you want to buy something before the owners is, from our perspective, highly unusual," he said.
Asked why Vehicle Gateway declined to talk to Canada Lands until next week, Mr. Davies compared the company's seven private investors - whom he refused to name - to Jim Balsillie, the co-CEO of Research In Motion. "It's an announcement to the public of the bid. Jim Balsillie announced he was going to buy the Phoenix Coyotes before he actually tried to buy them."
He said that if the attempt to buy CN Tower naming rights fails, Vehicle Gateway will try to purchase the naming rights to other pieces of real estate in the city, which he also refused to name.
The CN in CN Tower originally stood for the Canadian National Railway. When CN Rail transferred ownership of the tower to Canada Lands in 1995, the tower's official name was changed to Canada's National Tower.